Friday, July 6, 2007

BlogHUDding and integrating Sametime 7.5

As I was visiting an IBM event a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to blog about what I was seeing. But, blogging means you'll have to break out of the SL environment to do your writing. It's disruptive, and you may miss things in SL, while you are writing your blog entry in another screen.

So, earlier this week I tried the free version of BlogHUD, a blogging system to be used from within Second Life. Once you are set up with BlogHUD, you can enter lines of text in the chat bar, and have those posted to your page on BlogHUD. For larger articles, you have to write the text on a notecard, and drag/drop that onto the BlogHUD. It will prompt you for a title; then, the contents of the notecard will be published. This works as advertised, and is in fact quite easy to use.

Nice detail: you can send your SL snapshots directly to BlogHUD using the existing SL client "send as postcard" function. The mailed snapshot will be resized automatically to (configurarable) default values.

If you want to publish your content to another blog site, you need to buy BlogHUD Pro. For a mere 900 Lindens, the Pro version allows you to publish content (text and emailed snapshots alike) to a couple of external blogging systems, such as this one - Blogger. Other options are: Livejournal, Friendster, Wordpress and Typepad. Or you can get all creative with your BlogHUD pages' RSS feed, of course, but that's less straightforward for many users.

Today, while visiting SL Wimbledon at IBM 7 I tried to use BlogHUD to post some real content. I had some problems, in the BlogHUD pro version 1.06 you can minimize the HUD; but maximizing didn't work. Some other actions also failed. IBM's epredator Potato told me he had the same problems with BlogHUD. According to him, BlogHUD relies on certain scripts to run, and not all parcels allow foreign scripts to be executed. That may cause the tool to fail on certain parcels.

Other than that, it's nice to be able to drop content straight from SL into a blogging environment. There's one improvement I'd like to see: the ability to drop successive lines of text into one blogpost, instead of having them all put up as separate blog entries. This would hugely help with liveblogging events from within SL.

Second Life integrating in IBM Lotus Sametime (and Notes 8)
In other, related news: IBM blogger Jaymin Carthage wrote a series of posts on integration of Second Life and Sametime 7.5x; he's also hinting at a possible plugin for Notes 8 as well. That doubles the score, as far as I am concerned! Read the two post here: part one and part two. Sme of his code may become available later, watch his blog for announcements!

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